'Lone Survivor' Marcus Luttrell inspired Crimson Tide with pep talk
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — University of Alabama coach Nick Saban is known for bringing in impressive speakers to address the team, but the one who did so last week might be pretty tough to top.
Marcus Luttrell, the retired Navy SEAL and inspiration behind the movie Lone Survivor gave an emotional speech to the Crimson Tide on Friday, less that 24 hours before Alabama hosted No. 1 Mississippi State at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Needed to say, he left quite an impression with the players.
“It was awesome,” senior tight end Brian Vogler said. “I was sitting on the edge of my seat. Any time you can talk to somebody like that, you’re completely locked in to everything that’s going on, every word that’s coming out of his mouth.
“Honestly, once he got done talking I wanted to run through a brick wall. That’s how exciting it was.”
Luttrell received the Navy Cross for his actions in 2005 facing Taliban fighters during Operation Red Wing, when everyone else in his special reconnaissance team that included Matt Axelson, Mike Murphy and Danny Dietz was killed.
He eventually wrote a book about the experience which became a best-seller, and led to the film.
“He basically told us that anything’s possible. If you find yourself in adversity that you can always overcome it by just your mental aspect,” senior safety Nick Perry said. “We watched the movie before, so we kind of knew his background and story. But just him saying it, giving us the vivid details and actually what was true and what wasn’t true, it hit us hard.”
On Saturday, Luttrell was the guest picker on ESPN’s College GameDay (yes, he did predict an Alabama win), and as part of the Patriot Tour that held a special event the night before in Tuscaloosa received a loud ovation at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama went on and won 25-20.
“It was great,” sophomore defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson said. “Coming from him and what he’s been through makes you think you can do anything. What we’re doing is nothing compared to what he’s done, so I felt if we can do almost what he’s done on the football field from a football aspect, it will be great.
“Everyone seemed fired up and ready to go.”